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8 Kenyans arrested in Rwanda as plot to hack Equity Bank thwarted

Equity Bank is a regional financial services giant with presence across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo/FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1 – Eight Kenyans were arrested Thursday for attempting to hack into the Rwandan branch of Equity Bank to steal money from clients’ accounts.

According to the Rwandan Investigation Bureau (RIB), the Kenyans were arrested alongside three Rwandese and a Ugandan.

The Bureau further stated that “the group came to Rwanda after successfully defrauding the bank’s branches in Kenya and Uganda.”

Equity Bank is a regional financial services giant with presence across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Equity Bank’s Chief Executive James Mwangi was early this year quoted as saying that the bank has experienced about 14,000 attempts to hack its financial systems.

The arrests came amid heightened vigilance to deter a breach of security systems of various financial and government institutions in Kenya.

In March last year, technology firm Microsoft warned Kenya to take necessary steps amid a projected increase in cyber tacks.

A month after, the National Bank of Kenya confirmed that fraudsters had gotten away with Sh29 million in a suspected hacking incident.

In July 2017, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) introduced cyber security policy guidelines to help banks deal with cybercrimes and prepare for emerging threats.

Banks are required to compile and file annual reports with the regulator detailing how they plan to curb cyber security threats.

Last year, the regulator widened the scope to mobile money transfer networks which are required to notify CBK within 24 hours of any cyber security incident.

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